Cleveland Blues Music [Surfcoast Column]

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Cleveland Blues Music [Surfcoast Column]

Sunshine Coast two-piece act Cleveland Blues Music is coming to play a gig at their “second home” in Anglesea on the Surf Coast this weekend. Ihaia ‘Cleveland’ Pirere (singer, songwriter & guitarist) and Andrea ‘Bam Bam’ Norden (drums & percussion) form a deadly blues combination – and they’re ready to go “hell for leather”.
Queensland-born Cleveland is a late starter musically, not having ever picked up a guitar until he was 30 years old. “I just sat on the couch for years just playing to myself, and then my partner told me to go and play somewhere to get me out of the house,” he says. “So I went up to Maleny and played there in this little competition thing – and I ended up winning the night. So from there it just progressed.
“After I played solo for so long I was just looking for something a bit heavier, and I saw a few other bands that influenced me a bit. So I looked for a drummer – I went through about three drummers before I found Bam Bam, and we’ve been together now for about four years. It’s sort of been a really good musical marriage between the two of us.”
CBM’s music consists of dirty swamp rock ’n’ stomp blues heavily influenced by the 1950s-style gospel and blues sound, but the songs are all original works. “I’m a poet more than a songwriter,” Cleveland says. “I sort of write short poetry and then put background music to it. That was how I first started. There are a lot of stories. I write a lot of riddles, too. I’ll write about a bottle of wine but talk to it like it’s a woman. I can write a song in five minutes or I can write a song in eight years.”
Cleveland says Bam Bam is one of the best drummers he has ever seen and is immensely confident when performing with her on stage. She got her nickname from a young age; she began playing drums when she was eight. But how did Cleveland get his nickname?
“Cleveland was sort of given to me. My name’s Ihaia, which is a Maori name passed down from father to son. I used to teach handicapped kids how to get into the workforce, and when I’d walk in in the mornings and say ‘good morning, kids’, they’d say ‘good morning, Ohio’, like Cleveland, Ohio. So all my mates got stuck on that and started calling me Cleveland.”
CBM are looking forwards to their gig at Anglesea’s Sea Eyes Café, which is part of their Ocean Road tour around the east coast of Australia. “Anglesea’s like our home away from home,” Cleveland says. “We played Anglesea Music Festival three years in a row and we’ve got a really good fan base down there. Some of our fans have become friends and now family, so we always hit up Anglesea for a show. We normally play 18 plus but we’ve had a lot of people ask us to do some all-ages shows, so that’s why we’ve gone the Sunday arvo at Sea Eyes. We’ve got a great following down there.”
They will be joined by Dean W. Martin on harmonica for the Sea Eyes gig and the remainder of the tour, and crowds can expect a rocking afternoon. “We’re full-on or not on. It’s not dinner music…”
Where&When: Sea Eyes Café, Anglesea – October 5
By Daniel Waight